AUSTRALIA: Marriage Survey Ends With 78% Response

Australia’s News Corp outlet reports:

And now, it’s over to the vote counters, and the politicians. The $122 million same-sex marriage survey closes tonight, with final Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealing 12.6 million Australians voted in the poll.

With just hours until the survey closes, that’s a return rate of 78.5 per cent as of last Friday. The final figure will increase slightly once votes cast between last Friday and today’s deadline are accounted for. Drop-off locations at ABS offices in all capital cities will accept survey form drop-offs until 4.30pm.

The return rate has swamped other voluntary polls such as Britain’s Brexit, the last US presidential election, and Ireland’s own same-sex poll.

The final count will finally put to rest conflicting polls throughout the campaign. Initial polls indicated the Yes vote would prevail, but last week a university study flew in the face of previous polls, forecasting a narrow win for No, based on analysis of Twitter data.

The Guardian reports:

Australia appears on track for a yes vote in the same-sex marriage postal survey when results are reported next week, according to the latest Guardian Essential poll, where 64% of people who have voted say they’ve cast a yes ballot.

With the survey closing on Tuesday, the new poll of 1,792 voters shows 86% of the sample reporting they have voted – up 11% in a fortnight. More voters over the age of 55 say they have voted in the survey (94%) than people under the age of 35 (80%).

Of the people who have already voted, 64% report voting yes (up 4% from two weeks ago) and 31% no (down 3%) – with 5% declining to answer. Groups most likely to have voted yes are Greens voters (92%), Labor voters (79%), those aged 18-34 (77%) and women (69%).

  • netxtown

    I know this is good news…but it still bugs me that the innate right to love is being decided by slick ads and “votes”.

    • Frostbite

      not really the right to love, no one can take that away from you. just the “right” to a piece of paper and “benefits”, those benefits might be useful, but they’re just material in the end, you’ll always love who you love.

      • (((GC)))

        That legal and social support taken for granted by committed female-male couples includes a lot of powerful benefits, like not having to jump through hoops to try to ensure that your spouse is recognized and respected as your closest family member if you’re hospitalized or die. Those “benefits” should be available to every family!

    • friendlynerd

      And it’s not even binding…they can still throw the whole waste of money in the bin and keep on doing what they’re doing.

      • Bruce Watkins

        Exactly and there is still a good chance they will do exactly that if the No vote loses…….

    • Ninja0980

      Yup and that this vote isn’t binding.
      The bigots can and will drag their feet on this.

    • Richard, another Canuck

      I think someone made an awful lot of money off of this survey. That is $10.00 per completed ballot. Wonder what the breakdown of expenses is?

  • Tulle Christensen

    “university study flew in the face of previous polls, forecasting a narrow win for No, based on analysis of Twitter data”

    yes because tweets have been shown to be so predictive

    does anyone know what university so i can disregard anything that comes out of it in the future

    • TuuxKabin

      Not here. But if you find out, let us know?

    • Ernest Endevor

      Fosters Academy?

    • HKDaniel

      “We used advanced data analytics, developed at Griffith University’s Big Data and Smart Analytics Lab, which have proven uncannily accurate at predicting the outcomes of hard-to-call polls. Despite strong polling to the contrary, our method predicted the outcome of the US presidential election.”

      For what that’s worth.

      • Gerry Fisher


      • bobbleobble

        I think it’s worth pointing out that various universities were giving Clinton 90% + chance of winning using their own mathematical models. They’re only right until they’re not! I guess we’ll see how predictive Twitter and their analysis is on this issue.

    • ChrisMorley

      It’s data analysis from Griffith University in Queensland.

      ‘And the advanced data analysis techniques used by Griffith University’s David Tuffley and Bela Stantic has also predicted results other polls got wrong, including the result of the 2016 Presidential election which saw Donald Trump become US President.’
      In the report they explain their techniques.

      • bobbleobble

        The polls weren’t that wrong in Clinton vs Trump though, it wasn’t that big a surprise that Trump managed to win and there were plenty of other factors at play. It would be interesting for them to give a list of other results that they predicted correctly and how far they varied from the polls before drowning my sorrows!

        • ChrisMorley

          Here’s Ass. Prof. Bela Stantic crowing about predicting the tRump results in public, the day before the election, and being proved correct.

          Big Data analytics – Nostradamus of the 21st century

          ‘Associate Prof Stantic was so confident in the result that he
          publicly announced his prediction even for the known swing states – and his calculations for all swing states were right.
          “My algorithms showed clearly to me that based on past patterns and sentiment in social media that Trump, by November 8, would take over the lead, despite only having a 10 per cent chance to win according to all polls at that time,” he said.
          “In a public address on big data the day before I even correctly identified all main states that Trump would win (including Florida, North Carolina and Pennsylvania).’

          • bobbleobble

            Well that’s put me right down in the dumps! That said, they also talk about predicting the last Australian federal election but it was expected that the Coalition would win and in fact the surprise there was that the Coalition didn’t do as well as expected, even losing its majority in the Senate.

          • ChrisMorley

            I’m rather discomforted too.
            However, *crumbs of comfort*
            “So it is likely to be a close-run result, much closer than the earlier polls suggested, and leaning in the direction of ‘no,’ Professor Stantic and Mr Tuffley said.

          • bobbleobble

            Who knows, maybe they’re totally wrong on this and their tinkering with the figures was way out. I guess we’ll find out next Wednesday.

  • TuuxKabin


  • A couple comprised of a husband and wife should only try to imagine for one moment how they would feel if their precious, legal and/or sanctimonious marriage would ever be so disrespected or targeted for destruction by putting their marriage up to such an inhumane poll vote!

  • TrueWords
    • Gerry Fisher

      Cuts right to the heart of it

      • TrueWords

        Here in Washington state I was PISSED that someone got the right the vote on my marriage…I called BULLSHIT from here to kingdom come…also the legalization of pot won by a larger margin than gay marriage…

    • Rambie

      Because “christians”

      • Steven Jaeger

        Or Tealiban, or christistas or any such crap.

  • Leo
    • TuuxKabin

      and the beat goes on.

    • Reality.Bites

      Looks kind of cute there. Probably a flabby body though.

      • OdieDenCO

        the flabby mind that makes him a donny supporter over rides any physical beauty. biggly!

      • Ron Robertson

        To me he looks like a smug punk.

      • 2guysnamedjoe

        Looks Pharmadouchey to me.

  • Reality.Bites

    “forecasting a narrow win for No, based on analysis of Twitter data.”

    They do know that tea leaves would be more accurate, don’t they?

    • licuado de platano

      I’m preferable to corns-in-turd prognostications.

      • FancyThat

        Holy crap! That’s a shitty thing to say.

    • Frostbite

      have to wonder if they included all the bots..

      • Bad Tom


      • KnownDonorDad

        I know, if you look at the bots it would be like 80% in favor of criminalization of homosexuality.

        • Reality.Bites

          And send us all to Australia?

    • bobbleobble

      I’ve had a quick look for the actual study but they claim that the analysis also allowed them to predict Trump beating Clinton.

      • Todd20036

        Uh huh. Funny how that conclusion became public after the fact.
        And not to mention the fact that an accurate poll would have had Clinton beating Trump.
        Clinton won the popular vote, so polls should reflect that, not an electoral college vote.

        • bobbleobble

          Yeah, it’s hard to understand quite what they mean when they say that their model had Trump beating Clinton because they don’t go into detail. You’re right, if they found that Trump beat Clinton in the popular vote then their model is off. If on the other hand they correctly predicted that Trump beat Clinton in the correct states then maybe we should be worried!

      • Bad Tom

        Post prediction is notoriously flawed.

  • BeaverTales

    I wonder how many people would want strangers to vote on their marriage? Other than a contestant on the Bachelorette or whatever.

    • Tor

      I really want a chance to vote on the civil rights of Christianists.

      • MBear

        More fun to pay for ads in the prelude – pointing out the violence and mental illnesses that go hand in hand with religionism. Think of the children!!!

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this survey just for the politicians to *start* the legislative journey on marriage equality? Like, this survey isn’t legally binding at this point, right?

    • BearEyes

      yup. it’s a money wasting delay tactic in a shameless attempt to provide political cover in lieu of actually legislating. Spine optional.

    • Reality.Bites

      At any point.

    • Todd20036

      The haters wanted it because if the vote was NO they’d use that as an excuse to quash equality.
      But if the vote was YES, then nothing substantial would immediately change.

      • Uncle Mark

        I agree. For the most part, it’s a delay tactic by the haters; however there are some lesser haters, who will use that as an excuse for voting YES, because the majority of their constituents voted YES. (It provides cover for them in the future, if some bigot attempts to unseat them using their vote as a wedge issue. They can use this as an excuse to follow the wishes of their constituents, even if they don’t believe in marriage equality.)

        • Reality.Bites

          They seem to have a remarkable reluctance to look to Canada, New Zealand and Britain – three countries with similar systems of government, where marriage was passed by Parliament without any need to hold a public vote, although there were consultations where the bigots were allowed to speak – and where the issue immediately faded away.

          They should look to the reality that the ONLY time someone’s position on marriage is used to attack them in those countries is when they DIDN’T support it.

          • Steven Jaeger

            Mentally with their cowboy image I think they are much like our Western states.

          • Reality.Bites

            But the reality is that Australia’s population is 90% urban, a higher percentage than Canada and the US (82%) or Ireland (64%).

            Urban residents in the US, even in red states, are largely Democratic and pro-equality. That’s true in Canada as well (in different terms).

          • Steven Jaeger

            But unfortunately the minority cowboy image is what is getting the play. Same as in the US. But we also have the damn puritan ethic of anything fun should be illegal, immoral, or fattening.

  • Tawreos

    They are hyping a non-binding vote that many in the government have already said they will add so many amendments to any equal marriage bill so as to make it so no one could vote for it. Australia has spent a lot of time and money so that the government can make it look like they aren’t hateful assholes while being hateful assholes. At least advertisers made a ton of money on this.

    • ChrisMorley

      The flood of amendments WON’T become law. They are simply attempts to delay and distract debate during the passage of a controversial Bill. This is normal in Parliamentary systems.

      During Britain’s parliamentary debates on marriage equality we also saw a flood of amendments proposed.
      Most went undebated.
      A representative few were picked for debate, and were roundly defeated.

      Marriage equality was passed by a large majority, with no adverse additions.

      • j.martindale

        Agreed. It will happen or it won’t. The religious crazy community will continue to whimper and whine about losing their right to demonstrate their contempt for gay people, but I think marriage will pass soon without being hamstrung by the bigots.

    • KnownDonorDad

      I have to say, watching this unfold has changed my opinion of Australia, and not for the better.

  • Blake Jordan

    If the YES wins, the legislation will probably either be indefinitely stalled, or so many carve outs will be made that LGBs will have less rights than before “equal” CIVIL marriage became the law of the land…

    If the NO wins, Turnbull et. al. will fee vindicate by the costly, toxic, non-binding postal survey…

  • Ross

    I will never understand why the majority even thinks it is right to deny equality to the minority.

    It’s indecent and immoral.

    • MBear

      The majority is not moral

      • FancyThat

        The religious right /conservative troops know that the more they can drum up emotion over such a politically charged issue, the more successful they always are at getting their base to get out and vote. Hate trumps candidate. There’s always the hidden ballot agenda or candidate(s) that reveal the source of the real stink. Same story, different continent.

    • Steven Jaeger

      I don’t even this it’s a majority; like here we have this 33% crowd pulling the strings.

  • j.martindale

    The Twitter polls are suggesting the loss for marriage equality? Don’t think I would put too much weight on that.

    • bobbleobble

      Not the polls, they’ve analysed tweets on the issue which suggest that there is more support out there for the NO side than is clear in the official polls conducted by news agencies. Apparently the over 55s who were the most likely to vote and most likely to vote NO are also the least likely to support SSM on twitter. That leads them to the conclusion that support for SSM is actually around 49% and not the 60%+ that polls suggest. It’s explained in a link through the website above.

      They also claim that they correctly predicted Trump defeating Clinton though I’m not sure the two necessarily translate.

      • Ernest Endevor

        Do we think Russia’s involved? Isn’t this just the kind of event that is wide open to manipulation?

        • bobbleobble

          To be honest I’m not sure they’d be all that interested and if they were in it to destabilise the current government then I think they’d be pushing the YES vote no matter what their own feelings are on SSM. Turnbull’s troubles all but go away if there’s a NO vote but YES will be chaos in the Coalition.

        • KnownDonorDad

          Russia, not sure; forces similar to the FRC and their allies, I’d be shocked if they didn’t at least try.

          • Ernest Endevor

            For example, we know that Brian Brown and Bryan Singer have been to Moscow among other places, because they’re forever bragging about it. Given Putin’s desire to sow discord I’m now more paranoid than ever about what I read and see reported.

      • Natty Enquirer

        Over 55s are also least likely to use Twitter at all. Twitter is not the world and it is susceptible to manipulation on a massive scale.

        • bobbleobble

          I don’t necessarily disagree. All I can do is point to the fact that they have had some success with this method in the past. As I understand it they compensate for the fact that over 55s don’t use twitter much which is how they calculate that NO will win even if by the barest of margins.

        • Reality.Bites

          Twitter is also a voice for cranky old men who no one will give the time of day in real life.

      • Reality.Bites

        Especially since he didn’t, with a 3 million vote spread, and the knowledge that most of the “people” tweeting were Russian bots.

        But the biggest mistake is that they are treating this like an election and it’s not.

        In an election there are (bots aside) usually roughly equal shares of highly partisan people.

        But on this issue, the tweeters are going to be a small minority of LGBT people versus a much larger rabid fringe. Most people are nowhere near engaged enough to tweet on the subject.

        There is simply no evidence, statistical or anecdotal, to suggest that Australians are notably more homophobic than Americans or Irish people who have

        • bobbleobble

          I don’t disagree. Sure they’ve had some success but it’s not clear that this will translate into a similar outcome here. I’ll still keep my fingers crossed though!

          ETA – that’s an interesting point you make about engagement in this issue. It could well be that there simply isn’t a big enough pool of tweets on this to come to any real conclusion and thus their models could be way off.

    • KnownDonorDad

      Agreed, although based on Twitter results I’m confident that “no” would prevail among paid Macedonian internet trolls.

      • AlternativeQuacks

        Based on Twitter results, Kim Kardashian would be elected Queen of the Universe.

  • Sam

    So we’ll know the results at 10 AM on November 15th (That’s 6 PM EST on November 14th here in the states.

  • KnownDonorDad

    Don’t overlook the sample poll taken:

    Of the people who have already voted, 64% report voting yes (up 4% from two weeks ago) and 31% no (down 3%) – with 5% declining to answer. Groups most likely to have voted yes are Greens voters (92%), Labor voters (79%), those aged 18-34 (77%) and women (69%).

    That’s nowhere near as close as Trump-Clinton in similarly sized voter samples*. Check the tape, as they say, I said that if a vote were taken of the denizens of the internet, Trump would be the clear winner. I think a similar statement can be made of the “no” vote, but the actual polls thus far give the trollocracy a much tougher fight. So I’m cautiously (very cautiously) optimistic.


    • bobbleobble

      Well that’s the other thing that makes me question their analysis. The polls here aren’t close. For their results to be correct it would require anything in excess of 10% of voters to be lying about how they voted which would be unprecedented. Clinton/Trump was very close and in every swing state there were polls showing Trump leading.

      • Reality.Bites

        This is true, but as we know, US election results are skewed by the electoral college. An analysis of tweets isn’t broken down state by state and is at best a reflection of the national range of opinion.

        And in the national vote, Clinton won. By a clear margin. Any correct analysis needs to either prove it was taken down to the state level or needs to show Clinton winning, because that’s what happened.

        We also know that most of the people tweeting about the US election were not Americans.

        Bringing up the US election only detracts from their credibility. And I did find this quote from the academic:

        “One of the problems with predicting poll outcomes is that people are often reluctant to say out loud what they really think about issues,” the pair argue.

        “What people say online can often be more accurate than what they say to each other in this age of political correctness.”

        Age of political correctness? OK, clear bias using such a loaded term.

        The study smells of Regnerus.

        • bobbleobble

          To be fair to them though, they did predict the outcome in 49 out of 50 states including all the swing states. I have no idea what they came up with as regards the popular vote. I’d need to read the studies properly to find out why they came up with what they did and who has the time?!

          I guess we’ll just have to wait and see whether they are predictive in this referendum or not.

          ETA – I did wince a bit when I read their comment about political correctness!

          • Reality.Bites

            OK, if they did state-by-state they may have done a proper job. However we still know that the sample was, through no fault of theirs, corrupted beyond belief. Their analysis can therefore never be proven from the US election.

            I imagine the Australian sample is far smaller and far more local. It hasn’t attracted nearly the same world attention as Ireland did and I imagine there’s less outside tweeting.

          • bobbleobble

            I guess it’s pointless hashing it out now, we’ll know the final result in a week and then either the polls or these guys will have egg on their faces.

          • Reality.Bites

            I’ve noticed very little positive coverage is making it over here, but I’ve seen it when I’ve followed links in Australian media.

            They’re taking a bet on a long-shot, that’s for sure. If they get it right they leave academic life and go into business. If not, well, they likely have tenure.

          • bobbleobble

            I’ve only seen reference to Clinton/Trump and the last Australian election that they apparently predicted correctly. The thing is, the last Australian election wasn’t a surprise. The polls showed Turnbull getting back with a reduced majority and he did.

            But fair play to them. As you say, they are sticking their necks out and though they likely do have tenure it’ll certainly be a set back for their reputations if they are wrong.

          • Reality.Bites

            Which will be a pity if they’re legit, just using a flawed theory. But that crack about political correctness makes me strongly suspect a nasty agenda.

          • bobbleobble

            Yeah, like I said that made me wince. It may just be that they explained themselves poorly (I’ve met a few statisticians that have no social skills!) or maybe there is something more sinister.

          • Reality.Bites

            I’ve certainly heard respectable academics advance the premise that people feel freer to express controversial opinions anonymously. That’s a given.

            Indeed, the whole polling industry is based on the premise that people will be more likely to express themselves when no one they know will know their opinions.

            Which also means there’s nothing new about it. The only thing that’s ever changed is the general consensus on what’s controversial and what isn’t.

            The mere fact that they are assuming no one would lie and say they don’t support marriage when they do is an indication of where things really stand on the issue in Australia.

  • Halou

    And so say all the bigots:
    “It’s non-binding. It’s just an opinion survey. Political correctness scared people into voting yes when they all really wanted to say no. etc.”
    “It’s a political matter and should be addressed by the Parliament, and please, everybody, forget that we (bigots) were the ones who tried so hard for so long to take this matter away from the Parliament!”

  • Ben in Oakland

    An analysis of twitter data?

    • bobbleobble

      That correctly predicted 49 out of 50 states in Clinton/Trump.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Sadly, in a post “Trump Wins” world, no poll can be believed nor should it. The one harsh reality regarding PC culture is that the bigots have now learned to say one thing to a pollster while saying another in the privacy of the voting booth. That’s the new reality and only a fool would dispute it. Simply put, the only poll that matters is the one involving the ballots.

    • Friday

      I’ve been looking for some confirmation on this, but I think *some* of the results reported are the actual plebiscite votes counted so far.

    • bobbleobble

      The polls weren’t that far off in Clinton vs Trump (within the margin of error in all states but Wisconsin and we know what shenanigans went on there) and in the last Australian election in 2016 they were pretty much spot on with Essential (the polling company that produced the poll mentioned above) calling it almost exactly.

      Certainly though polling has taken a beating and if they are as wrong on this as the research suggests then they’re going to have to take a long hard look at themselves as to what went wrong.

  • Kissmagrits

    In a world reeling under ten years of climate woes, crop failures, flooding, hurricanes and wildfires on every continent, the Christofascist still finds time to go nuclear over my legally committing to a husband who cherishes me.

    How very strange.

  • Ah, yes — News Corp, also known as the Murdoch press.

    Despite Rupert Murdoch having renounced his Australian citizenship in 1985 in order to become an American, the company — having gone through the legal fiction of being owned and run by sons/nephews of his — is now owned by Foxtel, which in turn is owned and controlled by, guess who? Rupert Murdoch.

    Murdoch and Foxtel are of course famous for their impartial and unbiased editorial policies, right? And for their support of progressive causes, right?

    I suggest this report — and the one rather peculiar “poll” it cites as evidence — be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.